Aston, PA—Sister Donna Fread, OSF, (formerly Sister Catherine Bernadette) 73, died in St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, on September 6. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 52 years. Sister Donna was born in Tacoma where she was a member of St. Ann Parish and a graduate of St. Leo High School. She entered the congregation in 1959 and professed her first vows in 1962. Sister Donna earned a B.A. in History from Marylhurst University in Portland (1968), an M.A. in Education from Gonzaga University in Spokane (1975), an M.A. in Religious Studies from Gonzaga University (1984), and a J.D. Doctor of Law degree from Seattle University School of Law in Seattle (2004). She ministered primarily in education both as teacher and counselor, in social services, and in healthcare.
Sister Donna ministered for 23 years in the Archdiocese of Seattle. She worked at St. Leo High School both as teacher and counselor and also served as a counselor at Bellarmine High School. From 1993-1999 she was vice president of mission and ministry for Franciscan Health System Northwest. From 2000 to the present she served both as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children and as an Immigration Court Observer. During those same years she also served as the Mission Fund Director for the Sisters of St. Francis.
Sister Donna’s work in education took her to California where she taught at the School of the Madeline in San Diego and St. Isidore School in Danville. In Oregon she taught at Sacred Heart Academy in Klamath Falls. At Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, Sister Donna served as director of campus ministry. She also worked for a time at the Franciscan Center in Spokane.
During Sister Donna’s nine years in the Archdiocese of Portland she worked as a consultant based at Our Lady of Angels Convent and from 1989-1993 served as a member of the provincial council for the former Sacred Heart Province.
A memorial Mass was celebrated in St. Ann Convent, Tacoma, Washington, on September 8. A service celebrating Sister Donna’s life will also be held at St. Ann Convent on September 17 and St. Joseph Hospital on November 22. Sister Donna is survived by her sisters, Joan Fread and Kathleen Woldrich; by her nieces and nephews; and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.